July 26, 2012

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bikers drive harleys

I'm a bicyclist, not a biker. Or just a guy on a bicycle. But I'm not a biker.

MrT 321 days ago

North America had a cycling culture

" But different from North America, the Netherlands and Denmark both had a history of cycling and indeed, after World War II, the bicycle was the only mode of transport most people could afford. "

Wrong! North America absolutely did have a history of cycling. Look at this image of Rochester, New York, from 1904.

Zoom in to see many bicycles locked to bike racks, the sides of buildings, and street poles. I count at least 15; some faster cyclists may be missing from the picture because of the long exposure time.

The modern view for comparison:

Rochester is now as car-dominated and transitless as most small American cities, but clearly at one time had a strong, practical cycling culture.

Now that the automobile is the only viable transportation option in most of America, I can certainly understand why one would assume it had always been this way, but it's inaccurate writing. I wish articles like this would stop perpetuating this falsehood. The dominance of the car is a recent change, and only now that the bicycle has been completely marginalized does it seem like it was never an option. It's not that we never had a cycling culture, it's that our cycling culture was destroyed.

David more than 2 years ago